True to its word for once, Hamas today resumed rocket attacks on Israel as soon as the cease fire was scheduled to expire. It was a smart play by the terrorist outfit.
One senses that Hamas’ stranglehold on Gaza depends on securing Israel’s agreement to remove its blockade. Without this, Hamas has nothing to show for the devastation brought on by its latest war. In this sense, Hamas has little choice but to keep attacking Israel until Netanyahu shows a willingness to lift the blockade.
But precisely because Hamas’ viability may depend on ending the blockade (and for other reasons as well), Israel should not agree to end it. Netanyahu, I assume, understands this clearly.
The problem for Israel is, of course, U.S. pressure. President Obama has already declared that Gaza cannot remain closed off. For him, then, ending the blockade a key element of any proper resolution of the war.
Israel could probably minimize U.S. pressure by showing itself willing to consider ending the blockade pursuant to a demilitarization plan policed with the help of the Palestinian Authority, among others. Hamas cannot agree to this, of course. But by raising the prospect of such demilitarization, Israel would (1) avoid looking like obstructionists to a Gaza solution, (2) put Obama in the position of having to support either Hamas or the PA, and (3) perhaps weaken Hamas’ position in Gaza by providing an incentive — less isolation — for the people of Gaza to reject Hamas.
The problem with this scenario is that the PA, backed by Obama, would insist on concessions from Israel regarding the West Bank. Thus, Israel’s best option might be to tough it out diplomatically when it comes to Gaza, even at the risk of alienating Egypt and the Saudis and further alienating Obama.
In any event, it’s clear what Israel’s worst option is — lifting, or even lightening, the blockade while Hamas remains in power.